John Brown of Haddington:
Q. Why is the glorifying of God placed before the enjoyment of him?
A. Because the glory of God is of more value than our happiness, Isa. xl. 17.
Q. Whether is our glorifying or enjoying of God first in order?
A. We must first enjoy God in his gracious influences, and then glorify him; and this leads on to further enjoyment of him, Psalm cxix. 32.
Q. Is our delight in the glory or glorious excellencies of God as satisfying to us, to be our chief end or motive in our actions, religious or moral?
A. No; but our shewing forth the honour of those glorious excellencies, Isa. ii. 11, Psal. xvi. 4, Isa. xliii. 21.
Q.Why may we not make our own delight in the glory of God as satisfying to our desires, our chief end and motive?
A. Because this would be a setting up of our own happiness above the glory of God.
Q. Why are the glorifying and enjoying of God joined as one chief end?
A. Because none can obtain or rightly seek the one without the other, 1 Cor. xv. 58.
Q. How do we most highly glorify God?
A. By receiving and enjoying him most fully.
God's glory is the most principal and supreme end of all. As at the next (but subordinate) end, God in His Providence aimeth at His children's good.
Q. 1.44. Why is the glorifying God made the leading part of man's chief end, and set before the enjoyment of him?
A. Because, as God's design in glorifying himself was the reason and foundation of his design in making man happy in the enjoyment of him, Rom. 11:26; so he has made our aiming at his glory, as our chief end, to be the very way and means of our attaining to that enjoyment, Psalm 50:23.
Q. 1.45. Is our happiness, in the enjoyment of God, to be our chief end?
A. No; but the glory of God itself, Isa. 42:8; in our aiming at which chiefly, we cannot miss the enjoyment of him, Psalm 91:14, 15.
Q. 1.46. Is not our delighting in the glory of God, to be reckoned our chief end?
A. No; we must set the glory of God above our delight therein, otherwise, our delight is not chiefly in God, but in ourselves, Isa. 2:11. Our subjective delighting in the glory of God belongs to the enjoyment of him, whose glory is above the heavens, and infinitely above our delight therein, Psalm 113:4.
Glorifying of God is put before the enjoying of him, because the way of duty is the way to the enjoyment of God. Holiness on earth must necessarily go before felicity in heaven, Heb.12:14. There is an inseparable connection betwixt the two, as between the end and the means; so that no person who does not glorify God here, shall ever enjoy him hereafter. The connection is instituted by God himself, so that the one can never be attained without the other. Let no person, then, who has no regard for the glory and honour of God in this world, dream that he shall be crowned with glory, honour, immortality, and eternal life, in heavenly mansions. No; the pure in heart, and they who glorify God now, shall alone see God, to their infinite joy in heaven.
If we glorify God, he will glorify our souls forever. By raising God's glory, we increase our own: by glorifying God, we come at last to the blessed enjoyment of him.
Q. Do we not promote our happiness, by making God's glory our chief end?
A. Yes; and therefore glorifying God, and enjoying him for ever, are connected in the answer.
Q. What is mans chief duty?
A. To glorifie God.
Q. What is mans chief happinefs?
A. To enjoy God.
Q. 9. Why are the glorifying and enjoying of God put together, as making up our chief End?
A. Because no man can glorify God, that takes him not for his God; and one takes him for his God, that takes him not for his supreme Good; and both these being essentially included in this Notion of the chief End, are therefore justly put together.
Q. 7. Why is the glorifying of God and the enjoyment of God joined together as one chief end of man?
A. Because God hath inseparably joined them together, so that men cannot truly design and seek the one without the other. They who enjoy God most in his house on earth, do most glorify and enjoy him. "Blessed are they that dwell in thy house; they will be still praising thee." — Ps. 84:4. And when God shall be most fully enjoyed by the saints in heaven he will be most highly glorified. "He shall come to be glorified in his saints."— 2 Thess. 1:10.
Obs. 3. The glorifying of God, and the enjoyment of him, are inseparably connected.
The glorifying and the enjoyment of God are here connected as one chief end, because God hath inseparably connected them, and no one can truly design and seek the one, without, at the same time, designing and seeking the other. And we may here remark, that the glorifying of God is here set before the enjoyment of him for ever, to show that the former is the means by which the latter is obtained ; that holiness on earth must precede happiness in heaven ; and that none shall enjoy God for ever who have no desire to glorify him in this world. Heb. xii. 14; Matt. v. 8.
Q. Is the principal to glorifie God? Yes.
Q. And the lefs principal to enjoy him for ever? Yes.
Q. Are thefe two joyned together with And? Yes.
Q. S.D. What is the firft Propofition?
A. Man's chief End is to glorifie God, I Cor. 10. 31. Whether ye eat or drink, or whatfoever ye do, do all to the Glory of God: Rom. 11. 36.
Q. What is the fecond Propofition?
A. Man's Chief End is, in, or next to to the glorifying of God, to enjoy him for ever, Pfal. 73. 25, to the end. Whom have I in Heaven but thee? and there is none upon Earth that I defire befides thee. 26. God is the ftrength of my Heart, and my Portion for ever: Joh. 17. 21, 22, 23.
I. Mans chief end is,
1. To glorifie God; Proved out of 1 Cor. 10.31. Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatfoever ye do, Do all to the glory of God.
2. Next to the glorifying of God, to enjoy him for ever. Proved out of Pfal. 73. 25, 26. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I defire befide thee, v. 26. My flefh, and my heart faileth, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
Q. How many Doctrines or diftinct Truths are there in this firft Anfwer?
A. There are Two.
Q. VVhat is the firft Doctrine in this Anfwer?
A. That Mans chief end is To glorify God.
Q. How is this Doctrine proved?
A. It is proved out of I Cor. 16.31. VVhether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatfoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
Q. VVhere lies the force of this Text to prove this Doctrine?
A. In thefe words, Do all to the glory of God.
Q. How know you, that the force lies in thefe Words?
A. By two things.
1. By the fenfe of the words themfelves.
2. Becaufe thefe words are printed, with a different Character, or letter, from other words of the fame Text.
Q. Wherein lies the difference?
A. The words, wherein the force lies, are printed Text. with blacker, and lefs Characters: The others, in whiter, and bigger Letters.
Q. But what if at any time, as it is very often in the Catechifm, all the words of the Text are printed alike?
A. Then the Force lies not in any particular words of the Text, but in the whole.
Q. What is the fecond doctrine in this firft Anfwer?
A. Next to the glorifying of God, to enjoy him for ever.
Q. Why fay you fo? This is no Doctrine: for A Doctrine muft be full, and perfect fenfe.
A. It is fo printed in my Catechifm.
Q. It is fo indeed. But here you muft note with all Care, That when ever you are bid to draw A Doctrine, either from the Anfwer, or Scripture, you be fure to give full, and compleat fenfe.
A. Thats but fit indeed. But I know not how to help my felf herein.
Q. To help you therefore, look narrowly into your Catechifm, and there you fhall find immediately after the Anfwer to the queftion, fome other words, which being added to what you have faid, will make the fenfe full, and compleat.
A. I now fee thefe words -- Mans chief end is -- standing juft under the Anfwer.
Q. Adde them then to the words you faid before: and now tell me, what is the fecond Doctrine in this firft Answer?
A. That Mans chief end is, next to the glorifying of God, to enjoy him for ever.
Q. Now indeed you Anfwer rightly;
How is this Doctrine proved?
A. It is proved out of Pf. 73. 25, 26. Whom have I in heaven but thee! and there is none upon Earth that I defire befides thee. 26. My Flefh and my Heart faileth, but God is the ftrength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
Q. Where lies the force of this Text to prove this Doctrine?
A. In thefe words, -- Whom have I in Heaven but thee! none that I defire befides thee, 26. God is my portion for ever.
5. Why does the catechism place glorifying God before enjoying God? Because the most important element in the purpose of human life if glorifying God, while enjoying God is strictly subordinate to glorifying God. In our religious life, we should always place the chief emphasis on glorifying God. The person who does this will truly enjoy God, both here and hereafter. But the person who thinks of enjoying God apart from glorifying God is in danger of supposing that God exists for man instead of man for God. To stress enjoying God more than glorifying God will result in a falsely mystical or emotional type of religion.